Long-billed Thrashers occur only in south Texas and eastern Mexico. Where they overlap with wintering Brown Thrashers, Long-billed Thrashers are more gray-brown than rusty brown. The streaks on their chest and belly are blacker, and the face is grayer. Wood Thrushes have a similar color pattern, but they are smaller, with a shorter bill and tail. Wood Thrushes have a white eyering, spotted instead of streaked underparts, and plain, unbarred wings. Given just a short glimpse in dim light, female Northern Cardinals can show just enough reddish to approximate the color of a Brown Thrasher, but cardinals have shorter tails, peaked heads, thicker bills, and don’t show white underparts.
Brown Thrashers from the western Great Plains are slightly larger and paler than those breeding farther east.
Brown Thrashers may come to feeders on or near the ground with dense cover close by. You can also attract them by planting shrubs that produce berries.
Find This Bird
To find Brown Thrashers, keep your eyes and ears alert around tangled thickets, hedgerows or forest edges in central and eastern North America. Brown Thrashers are secretive, and hard to spot in their favorite spots under dense vegetation, but they can make a lot of noise as they rummage through the leaf litter. During spring and early summer, males climb higher to sing from exposed perches. Listen for a song with a pattern of a Northern Mockingbird, but with phrases repeated only in pairs rather than in triplets.